In the fall of 2021, I wrote a research paper in Dr. Guerty’s Victorian occult class that focused on the relationship between Victorian author and publisher Aleister Crowley, and his obsession with Maenads- the female worshippers of the ancient Greek cult of Dionysus.
The subject of my paper began with my personal interest in the cult of Dionysus. In ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus is known as the God of theatre, fertility, and wine. In the process of researching the influence of the cult in Victorian Britain, I noticed that many of the documents that I found were written by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. These documents written by Crowley ranged from plays, short stories, and poems. In these works, Crawley uses the word “maenad” In a descriptive manner, or in some other literary works as I continued my research, Crowley refers to the god Dionysus himself, or Dionysus is a character in a story written by Crowley. Since this specific cult seems to be of importance to the influential Victorian writer that Crowley was, I decided for my research question to be why Crawley repetitively refers to maenads or the god Dionysus in his Victorian literary works.
After finishing my research and analyzing the sources regarding the Dionysus cult and Crowley’s personal relations, I concluded that Crowley's obsession with maenads and the cult is rooted in his violent sexual nature. In my presentation, I will present this argument and show the evidence that I found to support this conclusion.
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History, Anthropology, & Philosophy
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25 March 2022
- Date submitted
20 July 2022
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